My Transformation Into A Kids Entertainer
How did you become a kids entertainer? I’ll share my story of my transformation into a kids entertainer but be warned, at times it isn’t pretty. I’m going to be honest in the hope that it will inspire some of you to share your story in the comments section below…
What have I learned through the ups and downs of my life? As I sit in front of my computer here in Austin Texas I think about my life and one word comes to mind, Transformation…
Then when I think about that word then I am led to think about Jeff McBride. In an interview Jeff McBride describes magic being about transformation, when looking at his beautiful Mask Routine it is possible to see the transformation being displayed through the art of magic.
How does this all relate to me and magic?
I have had many transformations in my own life. When I was about eight or nine years of age I saw Doug Henning perform on TV and I was hooked, around the same time I fell in love with The Muppet Show. I found myself wildly curious about what was going on behind the scenes. I had this desire to discover and understand the unseen workings that produced the illusions of magic and puppetry. For more than 30 years I have had a love affair with magic and the variety arts. It was my passion, it was what I wanted to dedicate my entire life to doing, and it was all I thought about.
When I was about twenty or twenty one years of age I decided that magic and children’s entertainment was going to be my career. I got involved with the International Brotherhood of Magicians and was attempting to learn all that I can. I decided also to meet other entertainers in the area and shared a house in Austin with two wonderfully talented and professional musicians. I envied them for being able to dedicate their lives to their music and to make a living from it, which in Austin, the live music capital of the world, can be challenging to do; there are a lot of musicians here. Unfortunately, being young, in my mid-twenties I had little to no sense of personal boundaries. I fell into the wrong crowds and fell into a life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, in the literal since of the phrase.
For more than 10 years I was stuck in my addictions, and my passions to become a professional entertainer fell away.
I call these years my dark years. Back then I was taking better care of my vehicle then I was taking care of myself.
Through my abuse of drugs and alcohol during those years I cannot count how many times I lied, ran into and out of bad relationships, drank myself sick, and blacked out. There are a couple of times I almost died. To be honest when I look back at those times I don’t recognize myself, it’s as if I am remembering the life of someone else.
It was a crazy and unhealthy life I was living, that all changed on St. Patrick’s Day weekend of March of 2007. It was Saturday evening, into early Sunday morning and I wrecked my vehicle while driving drunk and sent my roommate to the hospital. I of course was arrested and as I sat in my small, cold cell, hung-over, I realized that the only person that I could hold accountable for the position that I was in was me. “How did I end up here?” was the question I kept asking myself, and the answer that would come to me was “because of my choices”.
I knew then if I wanted to change my course in life that I was going to have to change me.
After that evening I have not had a sip of alcohol, I even quit smoking cigarettes. If I was going to change I was going to change everything. When I think about the years of 2007-2008 I think about change and transformation. I changed everything, I dressed differently, and I made better healthier relationships, and re-discovered my spiritual self. I paid attention to what I had in my life and lived in place of gratitude instead of a place of scarcity. All of the unhealthy friends I had in the past I gave up, I even changed my phone number. To some that might seem cold, however, through trial and error I discovered that a majority of the friends I had in the past, without the use of drugs and alcohol, I had nothing in common with on a deeper level. I started to honor the healthy and loving relationships that I had previously pushed away in shame.
I wanted to do something good for all of the bad I had done. I wanted to find a career which would help people; I decided to go back to school and to become certified as a Chemical Dependency Counselor. I understood the road that the addict is on and how difficult it can be to change. It just made since to me. I have been a substance abuse counselor now since 2009 and have worked with many different people, from the very wealthy to those in prison. I enjoy my job very much and am happy that I those choose this road to take professionally.
Over the last few years however something has started to emerge. The “magic bug” has started to bite. When it first started to bit at me I felt somewhat sad that I had lost that part of me, and thought that I had wasted all of those years. I believed that since I did not dedicate my life to my craft at an early age that it is too late for me now. The passion for it inside of me had other ideas it seems because over the last few months it has started to bit down hard. But in a good way. I have realized that this passion for magic and the variety arts is still very much a part of me. My transformation into a kids entertainer started again.
Over the last few months I have started to work as a balloon twister over the weekends and am starting to build my character and a magic show. I am making connections in this magical community and have gigs booked through March and April. I am beginning to understand that it is never too late, and that is exciting to me. Looking back now I honestly feel that it was important for me to go through all that I have over the last 20 years. It was transformed me into the person I am today. I am appreciative and humbled by the lessons which it taught me. I understand the importance of self-care which includes good personal boundaries.
How many times have you heard of a children’s entertainer showing up to a gig hung-over, or canceling at the last minute. That has a negative consequence on all of us. By becoming better and healthier versions of ourselves benefits us, our work, and all of those around us. I have discovered the magic of transformation and at the same time discovered the transformation of my magic.